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St. Louis' Forest Park named best city park in United States by USA Today

Forest Park opened to the public on June 24, 1876 and has more than 13 million visitors ever year.

ST. LOUIS — USA Today 10Best Readers' Choice Awards declared Forest Park as the No. 1 city park in the United States. 

USA Today polled readers for four weeks in March and April. Twenty parks were nominated in the best park category, according to a news release from Forest Park Forever, a private non-profit conservancy dedicated to restoring and maintaining Forest Park. 

Forest Park opened in 1876 and is made up of 1,300 acres with more than 13 million park visitors annually, the release said. 

Forest Park is one of the largest urban parks in the country, even bigger than Central Park in New York City. 

Through a combined effort from the city of St. Louis, Forest Park Forever and the St. Louis Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry, Forest Park has been restored from a "park once in decline," the release said.

“It is so gratifying to see the community love Forest Park as much as we do,” said Greg Hayes, Director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry for the City of St. Louis, and Lesley S. Hoffarth, P.E., President and Executive Director of Forest Park Forever. “Forest Park’s renewal and rebirth has been a great success story – to the point that many visitors today are in awe and assume that it has always been this iconic. But the continued support of donors, volunteers, staff, partner organizations and visitors is what makes it possible to maintain this wonderful place. We share our region’s pride in the Park as a St. Louis treasure and a national destination," the release stated.

A list of facts about Forest Park were provided in the release, including that it has: 

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